Frequently Ask Questions
How is it done?
Scalp micropigmentation – or SMP as it is commonly known – treatments are usually split over three separate sessions, although the actual time can vary depending on the extent of your hair loss, the style you require, and other factors.
During your treatments with Skulltec, micro needles are used to layer pigment dots on your scalp in a process that resembles getting a tattoo. But SMP is a highly-technical, specialized process performed by our trained technicians. The tiny “dots” of pigment, placed in the dermal layer of skin, create the illusion of a full head of shaved hair, similar to multiple tiny tattoos.
Before your first SMP treatment, at a consultation, you will meet with one of our team who to discuss your requirements, including the shape of your hairline, its positioning, as well as the density and shade of your pigmentation. our Skulltec technicians have been through the process themselves and will be able to give you honest insight into the process and it’s benefits.
During the first session, a tiny wound is created in the skin when each dot is applied. A scab heals over the wound and eventually falls away, taking some of the implanted pigment with it. Furthermore, the immune system attacks the pigments, causing them to shrink. This gradual “fading” of the dots varies from person to person which means you would need multiple sessions to get the required pigment shade.
A patient’s treatment session with Skulltec includes the application of different shades of pigmentation. Different shades are needed to enable some pigment deposits to stand out from among the rest. Lighter pigments are usually applied during the first session, while the next few sessions introduce the applications of darker shades.
How long does a treatment last?
The amount of time needed for an SMP treatment varies but the typical first session lasts from three to five hours, while the further sessions usually take less time as the correct blend of density and darkness is achieved on the scalp.
How long has it been around?
The first experiments with SMP were in the 1970s, but it wasn’t truly developed until 2002. The first general treatment offered to the public took place in 2006.
Why get SMP?
There are lots of different uses for SMP; it’s not just for treating general balding and hairline recession. It’s also appropriate for burn or surgery-related hair loss, and to conceal hair transplant scars, blemishes, or marks caused by trauma to the skin. It can even used to blend birthmarks into the scalp.
Does it hurt?
While most patients experience mild discomfort during the procedure – especially in its earlier stages – much like getting a tattoo, the discomfort usually becomes more tolerable as the session progresses. Some areas of the scalp have more, denser nerve endings than others, but the majority of patients focus on the benefits of the treatment rather than any discomfort they may experience. No pain no gain, as the saying goes. However, as your Skulltec technician will tell you, the pain is minimal, so don’t worry.
The bottom line, however, is that SMP hurts less than having a regular tattoo and a lot less than getting a hair transplant. Anaesthetics are usually available to numb the scalp, although lots of men and women choose to go without them.
How long is the recovery?
There is no down time or recovery period following SMP treatment, although slight redness on the skin from each tattoo session may last between 24-48 hours. Many patients return to work the next day and the usual time-table between treatments is seven day.
Are there side effects?
SMP has few, if any, side effects. However, it is worth noting that your scalp will be a little red after each application, and the dots will be darker and larger as your skin begins to heal. But, again, the tiny scabs that form over each dot will heal and fall off, taking some of the pigment with them.
Is SMP just for men?
SMP is effective in treating hair loss in both men and women. Like men, women can suffer from balding as they lose hair due to events such as childbirth, surgery, stress, and more, and SMP for women is a rapidly-growing service. At Skulltec, we work with just as many women as we do men.
There is a difference between SMP for men and women, however. While a man receives treatments to replicate shaven hair follicles, the primary goal of treatment for women is to decrease the contrast between the scalp and hair. And while women usually lose hair evenly across their entire scalp, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll go completely bald. Moreover, a woman’s frontal hairline remains intact.
It’s not necessary for women to shave their heads before SMP treatments. Instead, the technician applies pigmentation by parting the hair section by section. The result – a “shaded” scalp – makes it harder to see the difference in colour between the hair and scalp, which creates the appearance of thicker hair.
Note: SMP often works best for women with dark or brunette hair. It’s usually not recommended for blonde women.
How much maintenance is involved?
In the first few days after treatment, you should avoid activities that cause sweating of the scalp, as well as shampooing or washing your head. By day four, most men can shave with a foil shaver but need to be careful to not run it over any parts of the scalp in which scabs have not yet fallen off. Only by day 10 should you shave with a razor blade.
In most cases, an SMP treatment lasts for four to six years before the patient needs to have another treatment done because of fading of the pigments.
Are the results always realistic?
The quality and realism of your SMP may vary from one company to another. The skill and experience of your practitioner are also important.
Choosing a reputable company such as Skulltec ensures that your results are excellent.
Are there any disadvantages to SMP?
There are some “cons” when it comes to SMP treatments. Although they’re few, it is best to consider these before starting treatment. We always recommend sitting down with your technician before to discuss what you want to get out of SMP and so they can make clear what it involves. With that it mind, it is worth noting that:
• SMP is a permanent procedure which some men may view as a disadvantage. Because the hair pattern stays the same – much like a tattoo on your skin – changing it requires the laser removal process. Make sure you are 100% certain you want to undergo SMP before beginning your treatment!
• Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase the rate of fading. This would require the patient to visit an SMP clinic more often for touch-ups.
• Men need to keep their hair very short to fully take advantage of the SMP’s look. Are you cool with having that look for years to come? We always recommend you take the time to think things thoroughly before your treatment sessions begin.